NEWPORT, R.I. – The UNC Asheville Bulldogs will play their final game of the NIT Tip-Off this afternoon when they face a very talented East Carolina squad starting at 5 p.m. Today’s game will be played at the Ryan Center on the campus of the University of Rhode Island.
Asheville’s game with the Pirates will be broadcast locally on WWNC Radio (570-AM) with the pre-game show at 4:45 p.m. Fans can also listen on-line at uncabulldogs.com.
The injury-riddled Bulldogs (1-5) fell to host Rhode Island last night, 73-56. Rhody outscored Asheville 40-23 in the second half after the game was tied 33-33 at intermission.
Nick McDevitt’s club played without starting center D.J. Cunningham, the latest Bulldog to be hit with the injury bug. He’s out with a knee injury and is day-to-day. Cunningham (11.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg) was leading the Big South in blocked shots with 14 and was Asheville’s top rebounder.
“With our injuries, we’re asking some of our players to play in positions they’ve never played or aren’t ready to play,” stated McDevitt. “We have to make some adjustments, but our guys are giving great effort and that’s all you can ask. We’ll just try and get better with each game.”
Asheville faces an East Carolina squad that is 5-1 on the season with its only loss a close one at Duke last Tuesday night. The Pirates routed McNeese State, 91-62 Monday night.
“East Carolina is very talented. They shoot the ball extremely well and are well-coached by Jeff Lebo,” added McDevitt. “We played a good first half last night against Rhode Island. Tonight we’re going to have play very well for 40 minutes to have a chance.”
Andrew Rowsey and Jaron Lane led the Bulldogs with 17 points each on Monday night. David Robertson and Sam Hughes followed with eight points each.
UNC Asheville and East Carolina are meeting for the first time since the 1997-98 season in Kingston, R.I. The Asheville campus is more than 800 miles away from Rhode Island with the ECU campus more than 600 miles away.
East Carolina leads the series 4-3 but the Bulldogs won both meetings in the 1997-98 campaign, winning 69-61 at the Asheville Civic Center and then holding on for a 61-57 decision at ECU.
Today’s game is a special one for Jaron Lane who hails from Greenville and enjoyed a standout career at D. H. Conley HS. He has scored in double figures in three of the last four games and scored a season-high 17 points last night.
Asheville is 1-5 for the second straight year but recovered last season to go 16-16.
Freshman guard Andrew Rowsey has scored in double figures in five of the Bulldogs first six games. He has led the Dogs in scoring three times this year and played all 40 minutes last night against Rhode Island.